Is the full boarding school experience possible during Covid?
Sending your child overseas is a huge decision for any parent. Not only is there the challenge of being apart, but a substantial financial commitment too. During Covid the stakes are even higher; Covid tests to pay for, potentially quarantine each side of the journey, and after all that, will they still get the full experience you'd hoped for?
The English boarding school experience
At Highfield this means experiencing first-rate teaching aimed at igniting a passion for learning in every child. Our teaching also looks beyond the curriculum to skills learnt through Sport, Drama, Music and Art, as children learn skills they will draw on as they progress through education and life. The English boarding school experience is also about improving fluency in English, building confidence and independence, and learning the priceless life skills of how to get along with all sorts of different people.
How much of this experience is on offer right now?
Let’s take today for example. Naturally, the full complement of face-to-face lessons are currently underway, but we also have a virtual visit from Sir Isaac Newton who will be holding an interactive Physics session with the children via zoom. At lunch pupils will be honing their musical performance skills during one of the regular ‘Cushion Concerts’. This afternoon, the Cricket teams are competing against Aldro, and the boarders are excited for this evening’s ‘Chariots of Highfire’ where they work in teams to invent and build chariots to race down a hill in the grounds.
Highlights of last week include our most talented mathematicians taking part in a national competition; the UKMT's Junior Mathematics Challenge, and a Tennis competition against Edgeborough. Next week Year 8 begin rehearsals for their Drama Production, there’s the Geography Mapwork Challenge, a House Swimming Gala, and Year 6 are learning survival skills camping out in our school woodlands... need I go on?
There’s definitely a valid argument that Highfield boarders are less affected by the pandemic than children living at home. Effectively ‘quarantined’ together, but in 175 acres of beautiful, safe grounds, they have far more space and freedom than most family homes could offer. As each year group shares one household ‘bubble’, they are free to mix with their friends and spend time socialising, which is so important to their development at this age. In addition, not having to travel to different locations, means they are also able to enjoy a multitude of activities that would be very hard to achieve in the current external environment.
Thinking forwards to September…
The UK Government’s ‘Roadmap to recovery from Covid’ is a great success so far. Targets are in place to enable the removal of the majority of Covid restrictions by 21 June, and all UK adults are on track to be vaccinated by the end of July.
We expect travel quarantine restrictions to be largely lifted by September, but it is also likely that they will return from time to time over the coming year as new variants emerge. Now that quarantine has been reduced to five days with the ‘Test to Release Scheme’, though still challenging, this is a far more manageable issue. Unlike our short summer school course (which we've sadly cancelled this year) attending the main school for a longer period makes quarantine all the more worthwhile.
With speculation about children being the most impacted by the pandemic, perhaps there has never been a more relevant time to offer them the freedom, challenge and social connection provided by the Highfield boarding experience?
If you have questions about joining Highfield during Covid you may like to read our Re-opening Boarding page, or email Caroline at: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Highfield School
Highfield enjoys outstanding academic success and has been preparing children for the most eminent Senior Schools in England for more than a century. Highfield is a co-educational school for children aged 8-13, located in beautiful 175 acre grounds in Liphook, Hampshire, less than an hour from Heathrow Airport. Find out more.